The Juridical Nature of Participatory Governance and the Integration of Community Interests in Natural Resource Extraction and Management in Canada and Ghana

  • Author / Creator
    Amoateng, Solomon Frimpong
  • There has been relatively little scholarly engagement with the question of how Ghana could best ensure adequate consideration for local interests, regarding natural resource development projects in mining communities such as Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea, and Akwatia. This dissertation attempts to fill that void by exploring ways in which the Ghanaian government could successfully balance the interests arising from its mineral rights, with those arising from the land rights of mining communities, thereby ensuring that the latter benefit from mineral resource development. In this regard, one approach suggested in the literature is to enhance the participation of these communities in the decision-making process surrounding mineral development. The present study interrogates this approach and develops a regime or framework for the meaningful participation of Ghana’s mining communities in mineral development decisions. It draws upon Canadian jurisprudence on the duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples in natural resource development, as well as on principles of public international law, the democratic theory of participation, and Sherry Arnstein’s concept of power and participation, by way of comparison. Hence, the impact of a legal right to participation – or lack thereof – is exposed, specifically relating to community participation in natural resource development. It is revealed that legitimizing participation by foregrounding it in a legal or juridical right could provide mining communities with sufficient leverage to negotiate with stakeholders, especially the government and mining companies, by adding weight and drawing attention to their interests. The existence of such a right would enable these communities to legally challenge and influence government decisions concerning mineral development. It could also serve as the basis for contractual and other arrangements with mining companies, aimed at advancing the local interests of mining communities. Accordingly, this dissertation argues and advocates for the recognition of a legal right of mining communities to participate in decisions about mineral development. Also examined in this study are the features of a legal regime to promote meaningful participation in Ghana, whereupon it is proposed that the regime must first guarantee an enforceable right to participate in decision-making. Such a right would permit the courts to provide structural encouragement for meaningful participation. Second, the regime must ensure that the affected communities receive all the necessary information to make informed decisions about a proposed project. Third, to ensure that mining communities can respond to and challenge any decisions that might be contrary to their interests, they should be included at an early enough stage of the decision-making process to be able to influence a decision. Finally, the regime should provide financial and economic benefits to mining communities, where appropriate. These features of a meaningful participation regime are reflected in the experience of the duty to consult and accommodate, as institutionalized and practiced in Canada. This dissertation recommends workable measures for implementing a meaningful participation regime or framework, thereby ensuring sufficient consideration of the interests of mining communities in Ghana’s natural resource development projects

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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